Top 10 factors leading to hotline distrust by Ryan C, Hubbs & Julia B, Kniesche
Fraud-Magazine.com – July/August 2016
Companies implement and maintain reliable reporting channels differently depending on their sizes, cultures, geography and other factors. They should also decide whether they will build their channels internally or if they are to be outsourced.
There are numerous advantages in outsourcing this service, as experience and neutrality, which can increase the employees’ confidence in reporting channels. A good provider should allow accessibility 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, and offer additional services or add-ons (such as Call Back, consultancy, contents dissemination... etc.).
However, small organizations may believe that to do it internally is the easiest and cheapest option, and this is not so. Without going into confidentiality issues of the people who are responsible of receiving complaints, we must consider that we should establish an internal program that will require a significant investment in hardware, software and in qualified personnel to start, plus the ensuing upcoming expenses.
One way or another, the management must remain independent and should only intervene if an investigation is begun. External consultants, including Certified Fraud Examiners, can help an organization to implement a fraud analysis plan and help to implement continuous improvements in solved cases.
But, apart from the correct implementation, we must measure our channel use of the reporting cannel and its integration into the company. These are the six main points we have to be absolutely clear for the creation of a solid trust and stable culture:
1. Education and training
We must strive so that our employees understand the reporting channel, thus we help to build trust in the system.
An organization should train its employees in handling reporting channels, why does the organization believe this?, who manages it? and why are they a critical part of the compliance culture?
2. Continuous communication
Communication about the existence of a reporting channel, recent compliance publications and management messages should be regular and natural. All this is then reflected in the amount of accesses to the channels.
Access to a reporting channel should be within the company’s website, intranet or it should be external to the organization, but always under the premise of being accessible and confidential.
The channel information must be communicated in as many languages as necessary to provide the desired coverage.
Which will explain the investigation process after receiving a complaint, find out what the employee expects from the reporting channel, report on the responsibilities of the organization to cooperate and protect against possible reprisals... etc.
It is necessary to reduce any uncertainty about the service.
5. Competence and objectivity
Those who manage the reporting channel and investigation processes should be duly accredited professionals who are well trained and experienced in handling complaints. If necessary the organization should also install and implement adequate systems, processes and technologies to support researchers and employees.
Once the reporting channel is implemented, we must evaluate it periodically in response to the following questions:
- How do the employees see the reporting channel and the compliance culture from our company?
- Does our channel meet the employees’ needs, both in content and usability?
- Do reports of channel usage and complaints reports are well designed and are responsive to our needs?
- Are investigations and resulting disciplinary actions consistent with the desired compliance culture?
- Are all complaints and resolutions revealed and spoken with external auditors?
If our employees want to do the right thing, we must put all our efforts to help them, support them and encourage them to speak out and get involved in the smooth running of the organization.
Our employees could be the key to detect future problems in our company.
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